Monday, January 31, 2011

Brussel Sprouts Salad

Raw Brussels sprouts? Really? Seeing as 3 years ago I'd never tasted brussels sprouts and only remembered them being in a Sesame Street song, I've come pretty far. Turns out, I even like Brussels sprouts raw!

Curtis and I enjoyed this salad. Curtis told me that this was his favorite "strange" salad that I make (he believes the perfect salad is some very fresh lettuce with some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar). This is definitely worth the trip to the Farmer's Market for Brussels sprouts. The kids didn't eat it, but that was fine with Curtis and I.

This serves 4 -6, unless you love it as much as we do! This tastes best if you let it stand for an hour before serving.

Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad
adapted slightly from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed
juice of 1/2 lemon
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 c toasted pecans, chopped
3/4 c Gruyere, Pecorino Romano, or Manchego cheese, grated

Chuck (that's a real good cooking term, isn't it?) the Brussels sprouts into a food processor fitted with the slicing disc. (This is a fun part for kids to help with because there's lots of instant excitement). Put the sprouts in a bowl and toss with lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and toss well. Gently stir in the pecans and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or let stand for one hour before serving.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chinese Chicken Casserole

I may have mentioned before, Curtis hates casseroles. It's such a shame, because I LOVE them. However, it's a bit of a conundrum for Curtis. On the evenings I am not at home to clean up or help with bedtime, Curtis wants minimal dishes to clean up after supper. That leaves two choices: Chick-Fil-A or pizza or a casserole. I wasn't quite desperate enough last night to go with eating out, so I decided to try a new casserole I saw over on thekitchen (it's casserole week over there---perfect!)

Success! Everyone loved it. The kids gobbled it up and Curtis thought it was fabulous, in fact on of the "best meals I've had in a while," to quote him. I liked it because one pot to clean, it was healthy, and it didn't use tons of meat. It is slightly more expensive dish to make because of the shitake mushrooms. The dish is restaurant good though, so if you think about ordering food at a even a cheap Chinese restaurant for 6 people, this recipes gives you pretty good bang for your buck.

BTW--My computer is having issues with blogger these days (this is the second time I am typing this post, the first time I published I got %20 between every word). Additionally, any time I try to upload a picture my computer either gives me a "Bad Request" message or crashes, depending on my browser. Please forgive the lack of pictures until I get this whole mess straightened out (grrr...computers).

This recipe serves 6.

Chinese Chicken Casserole
adapted slightly from

1/4 c soy sauce
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t sesame oil
2 t cornstarch
1 lb boneless, skinless chickens, cut into 1/2" cubes (the recipe suggested breasts, but I had thighs so that's what I used)
3 scallions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece ginger, grated
2 oz smoked, cured (room temp safe) Italian salami, cut into 1/4" cubes
10 oz fresh shitake mushrooms, caps thinly sliced and stems discarded
1 T olive oil
2 c Jasmine rice (or regular rice will work too)
1 t salt
4 c chicken stock

Whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Put the chicken, scallions, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl. Pour the sauce over top, and toss to coat. Place the chicken mixture in the fridge to marinate until you are ready for it.

Heat an oven safe pot (like a Dutch oven, 3 qt size or bigger) on medium high heat until hot. Add the sausage, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the sausage has released its fat and the bottom of the pot is slick with sausage fat. Add the mushrooms and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Let the mushrooms cook, without stirring for 5 minutes. Stir them over and cook another 3 minutes, watching to be sure mushrooms don't burn (if mushrooms look like they are browning too quickly, reduce heat to medium). Add 1 T oil to the pot and add the rice. Saute briefly, then add the salt, chicken mixture, and stock. Bring to a boil.

Cover tightly with an oven-safe lid (no plastic) or foil, and bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 45 minutes, or until rice is done. Test the rice for doneness before removing from oven. After the casserole is removed from the oven, keep covered and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Stir thoroughly so mushrooms and rice are mixed together. Serve with chopped scallions for garnish, extra soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce if desired (which I didn't desire doing for any of those three).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pistachio and Apricot Granola

I got a new cookbook for Christmas. (Really, folks, I think I may have a problem here. It may be time for an intervention. I LOVE COOKBOOKS). This really isn't a surprise, the cookbook as a present for me. The surprise was that our dog bought it for me. She was so fortunate that I could do her Christmas shopping for her.

I had been eyeing this cookbook for awhile--reading reviews of it, skimming it in my trips to the bookstore. It was so kind for our dog to help me out here. Let me tell you, I have not been disappointed in it at all. Some of the recipes are "fancier" than what I usually make---but I also have also found some homey, CSA friendly recipes as well. Plus, before each recipe, there is a short story to go with it---always autobiographical and connected in some way to the recipe and at least one page long. I love it. Two of my loves present at one place, reading and cooking. In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark has not disappointed me. I've made four recipes from it so far, all of which I would make again without a moment's hesitation. It definitely has a spot reserved for it on my main cookbook shelf (and not relegated to the occasional-use cookbook shelf).

My second recipe to make from this book was granola. I love granola, but haven't been feeling the love from any of my granola recipes lately. This recipe was exactly what I needed. I am back on my weekly granola making kicks and am looking forward to playing around with substituting the nuts/fruits/spics (I think next up is a tart dried cherry and pecan granola....).

A warning--don't try to substitute roasted, salted pistachios for the raw, unsalted ones. It makes a huge difference and the flavor is much better with raw, unsalted pistachios. Hulling 1 c pistachios takes a bit of time--about 15 minutes--so if you can afford it, I would suggest paying extra for hulled pistachios. Otherwise, plan on spending some time hulling. The green of the pistachios and pumpkin seeds plus the orange of the apricots makes for a very visually pleasing granola

This recipe makes about 9 cups. I love it with some milk on it for breakfast, or all by itself as a snack. I've also read that's good with yogurt or fresh, milky ricotta and berries.

Dried Apricot and Pistachio Granola
adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

3 c rolled oats (not quick)
1 c raw pistachios, hulled
1 c raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut (or coconut chips which aren't as fine)
1/2 - 3/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom
3/4 - 1 c dried apricots, chopped (optional)

In a large bowl combine everything but the apricots. Spread mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet (a half sheet pan aka cookie sheet with sides) in an even layer. Bake in preheated 300 degrees oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to allow for even browning. Granola is done when it is golden brown and well toasted. Stir chopped apricots into toasted granola. Eat however you desire.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Carrot White Bean Dill Salad

When I ditched my Swedish Lamb Stew the other night, I needed an outlet for my dill--the CSA produce on the menu for that evening. I Goggled it and found a recipe from a blog I'd heard of, but never really checked out before, 101 cookbooks. For those not familiar with food blog history, 101 Cookbooks is one of the food blog pioneers, starting way back in 2003. (I am not a food blog historian, by any stretch of the imagination, this is my own distinction that I came up with almost no research). 101 Cookbooks focus is on natural foods--a lot of unrefined grains and sugars and all vegetarian recipes. It hasn't made my bookmark bar yet, but it still may. The pictures are beautiful and the layout is great (versus, say, this blog). :)

Curtis and I loved this salad (again, this was the evening our kids ate just beets for supper). It does a great job of using ingredients that are in season together.

These proportions will serve about 3 - 4 people as a side. (The original recipe would serve 6 - 8).

Carrot White Bean Dill Salad
from 101 Cookbooks

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
2 T - 1/4 c thinly sliced shallots, to taste (I am not a huge raw onion--even shallot--fan).

1 c carrots, sliced 1/4" thick on deep bias (which means diagonally)
1 (15-oz) can white beans
2 T fresh dill, chopped
1 T brown sugar
3 T sliced almonds, toasted

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and shallots in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, toss the carrots with a little olive oil. Spread them out in a single layer in the skillet. Cook them 12 minutes, tossing every three to four minutes, or until carrots are very browned.Add the beans and dill to the skillet, and cook another 5 minutes, or until beans are heated through. Add more olive oil to the pan if the pan looks dry and the beans are sticking.

Transfer beans/carrots mixture to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour 3/4 of the shallot/olive oil dressing over top. Toss gently. Let sit for 10 minutes, then toss gently again. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Sprinkle with almonds just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Tonight, Swedish Lamb Stew with loads of dill was on my menu. The cold front hadn't arrived yet and I wasn't really feeling very stew-like. Instead, lentils was on my brain. My neighbor talked about making lentils yesterday and I kept thinking, it's been awhile since we've had lentils. I remembered the finalists in a lentil contest I'd seen on food52. I checked them out and we had lentils for supper.

The lentils were fabulous. I know it's been a good meal, when two hours later, I am still thinking about how good the meal was. There is nothing to this meal--the preparation couldn't be easier and the ingredients are ordinary. Curtis and I loved it though. I am looking forward to the leftovers. It wasn't a hit with M or J. Little I liked it ok, but the big two decided to stick with beets for supper (yep, that's all they ate) until the challah bread came out of the oven. (I just couldn't deny them warm challah with nutella for dessert. They did eat their veggies after all, just nothing else).

This recipe will serve 4

adapted slightly from Rivka on

3/4 c French lentils (or any lentils you can find will do)
1 c jasmine rice (again, you can substitute other rice if necessary)
2 T butter
3 T olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t paprika
3 T fresh mint, chopped
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

Cook lentils with 1/2 t salt and 4 c water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft, but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Bring rice, 1/2 t salt, and 2 c water to a boil in a medium pot. Once water boils, reduce heat as low as possible and simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is done.

While rice cooks, heat butter and 2 T olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Once butter is almost melted, add onions and toss to coat onions. Once onions have softened slightly and released their liquid (about 5 minutes), increase heat to medium and cook another 10 - 12 minutes, or until onions are very soft and browned. (Add water by T if onions are too soft). When onions are very browned, add 1 more T oil and increase heat to high. Cook another 3-4 minutes, without much stirring, until the bottom layer of onions is charred and crisp.

Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in a large serving bowl. Let stand for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Taste and season with more onions if desired. While the rice/lentils/onions sit, make the yogurt sauce. To make the sauce mix together yogurt, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, mint, lemon juice/zest, and 1/4 t salt in a small bowl.

Reheat the mujaddara if it has cooled significantly in a low oven or microwave for a couple of minutes. To serve, plate a scoop of mujaddara and top with spiced yogurt.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Herbs

My kids love roasted and boiled beets. Seriously. (By the way, if you have toddlers eating lots of beets, don't be alarmed when you change their diapers---sorry, if it's too much information, but a beet-eating kid's diaper can be a little worrisome the first time you see it). As a result of my kids love of beets, I usually do nothing to them but roast them and lightly salt them. On occasion though, I want a grown up beet recipe that involves herbs and goat cheese.

Years ago, my husband used to get a beet salad he loved at a now-closed restaurant in town. I tried to replicate it, but at the time, I didn't like beets, so I never actually tried it. (That is not a good idea by the way. You can't create a recipe for something that you've never tried if it is trying to imitate another recipe.) I digress. I overseasoned the beet salad I attempted. This one is much better--the herbs don't overpower the beets and the wonderful roasted beet flavor shines through.

My kids didn't like this, wouldn't even try it, in fact. They like their beets unadulterated by things like thyme and goat cheese. Curtis and I liked it.

This will serve 4 - 6 as a side salad.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Herbs
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers' Market

1 1/2 lbs beets, greens removed. Use a variety of colors of possible.
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
1 t fresh chives, chopped (optional)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (keep refrigerated until using, don't bring to room temp)

Wrap the beets in an aluminum foil packet and place on a cookie sheet. Roast in preheated 400 degree oven for about an hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets. If the beets have been cooked long enough, the skins should slip right off without needing a vegetable peeler or a knife. Cut beets into 1 - 2" size pieces (I only halved and quartered my small beets). Put beets in a medium-sized shallow bowl.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the thyme, chives, and olive oil. Drizzle over beets, season with salt and pepper, and toss beets gently. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately. (Don't over mix beets after adding goat cheese, otherwise, beets will get a creamy goat cheese coating instead of being brilliantly colored).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maple Glazed Root Vegetables

I like cold-weather produce. Most of it stores well and is packed with a whopper of a nutritional punch. I don't stress about how many weeks my root vegetables have languished in my fridge---carrots, turnips, beets, rutubagas, radishes, kohlrabi will hang out for quite a while before they go bad. That's a good thing.

Occasionally, I come across a recipe like this which lets me use a bunch of root veggies at once. I raid the root vegetable drawer and drastically increase the amount of real estate in the crisper drawers. The amounts of vegetables in this recipe is kinda loosey-goosey. You don't have to use all these vegetables. Say if you have lots of turnips and sweet potatoes, don't go and buy a rutubaga for this (I wonder why anyone would ever pay for a rutubaga. It's definitely not one of my favorite roots). I know my vegetables weren't the size they were imagining--I had baby farm carrots, not big grocery store ones and small Hakerui Salad Turnips. I guessed amounts. You could also throw a parsnip in there if you had one. I didn't so I left it out. Just cut it into 2" pieces (about 1 c worth).

This recipe works perfectly on a rack in the oven sitting beneath a roasting chicken. Mmmm...I didn't actually eat these with supper, at which point I was a little unhappy because I doubted the restaurant I was going to could beat these (they couldn't). The tastes I had were great though and I can't wait to eat the leftovers.

This serves 4 - 6 as a side dish.

Maple-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
adapted Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers' Market

2 carrots, cut into 2" pieces (if using smaller carrots use 3 or 4)
5 - 6 small Hakerui Salad Turnips, cut into halves and quarters or 1 larger traditional turnip, cut into 2" pieces (I'd say about 2 c worth)
1/2 rutubaga, peeled and cut into 2" pieces (about 2 c worth)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2" pieces (about 2 c worth)
1 red onion, cut into wedges (about 1 1/2 c worth)
2 - 3 T olive oil
1/4 c maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima type pancake syrup folks. Use the real thing!)
2 T butter, melted

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables with olive oil to coat. Season with 2 t salt and toss again. Spread the vegetables on a single layer on cookie sheet (with a silcone mat makes for much easier clean up). If they won't all fit on one, use two sheets (I had no problem with them all comfortably fitting on one without crowding). Roast vegetables in a preheated 400 degrees oven for 40 - 50 minutes until they develop a light crust and are tender. If you are using the oven for say a roasted chicken as well and the roast chicken is in a 425 degrees oven, just leave the oven set at 425 and start checking your vegetables earlier for tenderness. Occasionally stir and shake the pans to crisp sides of vegetables and prevent sticking.

While the vegetables roast, stir together maple syrup and butter in a small bowl. Brush over tender vegetables, return vegetables to oven and roast another 5 minutes, or until vegetables look glazed. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alternative to Turkey and Stuffing

First off, let me apologize. Lately, this blog has been bread/pastry and meat-centered meals heavy. I know. This wasn't my intent when starting this blog. However, lately, I've been using lots of recipes from my blog to use my veggies. I've been entertaining a little more than usual (yippee!!) and have made meat-centered dishes. Bear with me as I present a few more meat-centered dishes. Really, I'll find some veggie dishes soon.

We stayed at our house this year for Christmas. It was fabulous. For dinner, we had Curtis's parents over. There was only 7 of us (including the 3 kids). In my family, turkey or ham is the customary Christmas dinner. I didn't want something as much work as turkey, especially since Curtis is not a fan, and a ham seemed too expensive. I was excited to find this recipe in my Perfect One-Dish Dinners Cookbook. It provided us with our poultry with white and dark meat for all of us and our dressing. My only complaint was that it made way too much for the 7 of us. We managed to finish all the chicken (thanks to cooking it off the bone and making broth with some of it), but the dressing we weren't able to finish before its time had expired. However, it was the perfect meal for a small, festive gathering without too much work involved.

A note on the recipe: Start drying out your breadcrumbs a day before you want to make this. You can also saute the sausage and vegetables the day before assembling everything as well to free up time to spend with your guests (if you are having guests). Allow yourself an hour of baking/resting time in addition to time to mix things together.

By my estimates, this will easily serve 8 - 10, especially if there are additional side dishes.

Festive Roast Chicken and Stuffing
adapted slightly from Perfect One-Dish Dinners

For the dressing:
10 - 12 c 1/2" bread cubes from dense crusty French or Italian bread (one large loaf, a couple of smaller ones)
2 c bread crumbs, homemade preferable (to make homemade bread crumbs, process dry bread in food processor until there are fine crumbs)
1 1/2 t dried basil
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t ground fennel
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 lb bulk mild Italian sausage
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 c)
3 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 c)
1 1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c parsley, minced
2 large eggs
1 quart chicken broth

For the chicken:
1 T basil
1 T oregano
1 T salt
2 t pepper
2 t fennel seeds
1 1/2 t orange zest, finely grated
2 T olive oil
8 lbs of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces: I think I used 3 lbs of split chicken breasts (protruding rib bones and fat trimmed), 3 lbs of chicken legs, and 3 lbs of chicken thighs

Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and let dry several hours or overnight.

Bake bread cubes on the center rack of a preheated 400 degrees oven until golden brown, 12 -1 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage, stirring frequently to break up, until sausage loses its pink color. Add onions and celery to pan and continue to cook until vegetables are soft and sausage is fully cooked, 7 - 8 minutes. (If making ahead of time, stop here). Transfer to large bowl and mix with bread cubes, bread crumbs, raisins, parsley, 1 1/2 t basil, 1 1/2 t oregano, 1/4 t fennel, 3/4 t salt, and 1/2 t peppers. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs and chicken broth together and pour over stuffing ingredients. Toss to coat and let stand while you prepare the chicken.

Mix together remaining basil, oregano, salt, pepper, fennel, orange zest and oil in a small bowl. Smear mixture over both sides of all the chicken pieces. Heat large skillet (can use the same one you used for the sausage) with a some olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook until chicken is nicely browned, then turn and cook the other side. Remove and set aside until all chicken is browned.

In a large roasting pan, place the sausage/bread mixture. Top with the chicken, skin side up. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven on a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Bake uncover, until skin is attractively browned and fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Last spring, after I made Columba di Pasqua for Easter, I decided I was going to make pannetone for Christmas. The breads are pretty similar---a rich bread dough stuffed with candied citrus zest. (That reminds me, I need to order the Columba di Pasqua molds now).

All fall, I kept my eyes open for pannetone recipes. I had one in my Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, but wanted to make sure that was THE ONE. I stumbled upon Chocolate Cherry Almond Pannetone on the King Arthur Flour website and decided that one was it. I tried it twice. Both times, the results were rather dry (I decided I used the wrong size pannetone mold and overbaked it) The first attempt I also had a difficult time figuring out how to double the recipe, making some major mistakes. Neither time the dough rose very fast, which is unusual for my house.

Now if there is one personality trait that has been a constant in my entire life, it's persistence (that's the positive spin for the word stubborn). I was determined that I could conquer pannetone, so I ditched my sweet, chocolatey recipe and turned to Williams-Sonoma.

Perfection. It was light and rich with the texture of brioche. The candied citrus zest was the perfect match for the sweet bread. We gave some to our neighbors for Christmas. She is still raving to me about it.

So, at my cousin's urging (who has also fought with pannetone this winter and who is just as stubborn--wait, I mean persistent--as me), I am sharing the recipe. I have no pictures, because I had decided against posting this at one point.

A couple of notes. Make the candied citrus zest (if you are making from scratch and not buying somewhere) a day or two before you want to make the pannetone. If you want to buy paper pannetone molds, try Sur la Table (Williams-Sonoma doesn't carry them). I've found a couple of different size molds. For this recipe, use a mold between 5 - 6" in diameter. The 7" one is too big and will result in the bread being dry if you don't shorten the baking time considerably. If you don't want to buy them, or can't find them (you can also find them online at Amazon), try this (which is straight from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, I didn't try this myself so I didn't feel good giving my own directions).

--Line two 6" cake pans (springform or regular) that are 3" deep with parchment paper. Brush the parchment with butter. Cut a strip of aluminum foil about 8 inches wide and 2 inches longer than the circumference of the pan. Fold the foil in half lengthwise, and butter one side of the strip. Using kitchen string, tie the strip of buttered aluminum foil, buttered side faicing in, around the outside of each pan, making a collar that extends 2 - 3 inches above the rim of the pan.

slightly adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Candied Citrus Zest
4 oranges (organic preferable since you're using the peel)
4 lemons (organic preferable since you're using the peel)
3 c plus 2/3 c sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice

Scrub the oranges and lemons well. Cut a slice from the blossom end of each piece of fruit. Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife, cut strips of zest, leaving as much white pith behind as possible. Cut the strips into 1/4" wide strips. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the zest and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the zest, refill the pan, and repeat the process. In a second saucepan, combine 3 c sugar with 1 1/2 c water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the zest, reduce heat to as low as possible, and simmer until zest strips are translucent and tender, about 30 minutes. Carefully remove zest from sugar water and place on a wire rack (waxed paper underneath makes clean-up easier). The strips should not be touching each other. Let dry overnight at room temperature. Put remaining 2/3 c sugar in a bowl. Toss the zest, about 10 strips at a time, in the sugar. If using for pannetone immediately, cut into small pieces. Otherwise, put in an airtight container for up to a month and chop before using.

The sponge
1/4 c warm water
2/3 c warm whole milk
4 t active dry yeast
pinch of granulated sugar
1/2 c bread flour

The dough
3/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 1/2 t salt
2 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
3 1/2 - 4 c bread flour
1 c golden raisins
candied citrus zest (recipe above--use it all), diced
2 T raw or coarse sugar

To make the sponge: Combine milk and water in a stand mixer bowl. Sprinkle in yeast and a pinch of sugar and stir to dissolve. Let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Add 1/2 c bread flour and beat on medium speed until smooth, using the whisk attachment. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the melted butter, 1/2 c sugar, zest, salt, eggs, egg yolks, and 1 c of flour to the sponge. With the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add remaining flour, 1/2 c at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition, until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding flour a little at a time (1 T - 1/4 c. I add 1/4 c at a time in the beginning, and as the dough gets thicker, I add just 1 t at a time), if the dough is too soft and sticky. Knead in stand mixer until dough is soft, smooth, and springy, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning the dough once to coat dough with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (depending on your surface--on my quartz counters, I don't need flour) and knead gently for a minute. Return to the bowl, re-cover, and let the dough rise again at room temperature for another hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Have prepared bread pans ready (see above recipe if you are shaping your own bread molds). In a small bowl, stir together the candied zest and golden raisins. Set aside. Turn the dough out onto the work surface. Pat the dough into a large oval and sprinkle evenly with half of the fruit mixture. Press the dough to adhere the dried fruit to it and roll the dough up. Repeat, adding remaining dried fruit. Knead the dough a few times to smooth out the dough. Make sure dried fruit is evenly mixed in (if dried fruit ends up all in the middle of the loaf, the loaf will be unbaked in the center). Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into 2 tight round loaves, gently pulling surface taut from the bottom. Place one ball in each prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough domes up to the rim of the collar, about 1 1/2 hours (the added dried fruit slows down the rising process).

Place a baking stone in the center of an oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle each loaf with 1 T raw sugar. Place the bread on the stones and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake an additional 25 - 30 minutes, or until the leaves are a golden brown and have reached an internal temperature of 190 degrees (use a meat thermometer. You could use a cake tester. Insert cake tester into center of loaf. Tester should come out clean). Let the bread cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove foil collars, if using. Gently turn the bread out on wire racks, stand right side up, and let cool completely. If using paper molds, just leave in molds until you are ready to eat it.